LETTER FROM THE PASTOR 5/9/21

My Dear Friends in Christ,


Every time I sit down to write an email about changes to our safety measures, I feel the need to express my gratitude for all of your patience, understanding, and cooperation. You have been overwhelmingly supportive, and I cannot thank you enough. God has continued to sustain us with His grace through all of the changes and frustrations.

 

Last night our Church Council made decisions regarding the safety measures in worship. We will continue to move forward safely and faithfully in stages to the best of our ability. The Atlantic District has advised us to keep in step with the current CDC recommendations. As such, we will now follow their mask guidance: If you are vaccinated, wearing a mask in worship is optional. If you are not vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask in worship at this time. Also, if you are vaccinated and would prefer to continue wearing a mask, you are more than welcome to do so. You may still want to wear a mask as you enter and exit the building. I know that vaccination can be a touchy subject, and I would encourage you to treat others in light of the grace we all have received. We are comprised of a family of believers that have various concerns, health issues, and comfortability. Please adhere to this new mask measure and continue to treat others with kindness and gentleness!

 

Reservations for worship will no longer be needed. I know that calling the office every week has been a hassle, and again I thank you for your patience. The reservations helped us out when we needed to keep an eye on attendance, supplies, and space. Now that the distance between pews has been reduced and our attendance has been relatively steady, reservations are no longer needed. Please feel free to sit where you’d like, but please still be respectful of the spacing between others.

 

Last Sunday’s service was uncomfortably hot. I’m sure we have more days like that ahead of us. During the summer months, we will be closing the windows and using the AC units when needed. I wasn’t around when the Sanctuary didn’t have those AC units. I don’t know how you all did it!

 

Regarding the reception of the Lord’s Supper, we will continue to celebrate it using the pre-packaged Communion Chalices.

 

As I said above, we will continue to move forward in stages. I will keep you informed. Thank you, and as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

Only Because of Jesus,

Pastor Jake

Letter from the pastor 3/10/21

My Dear Friends in Christ,


Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey I sent out this past weekend! The answers and comments helped me get a good lay of the land before our Church Council meeting. The majority of those who responded are comfortable worshiping in the Sanctuary and would like to attend an Easter Sunday service. Others have reservations and would prefer not to be in the Sanctuary due to the high infection rate on Long Island or for other reasons. After looking at the data and discussing worship plans, we decided to keep us moving forward in a safe, healthy, and faithful direction.


Beginning this Sunday, March 14, we will return to weekly in-person worship services at 10:15 AM in the Sanctuary. At the same time, we will offer a drive-in service option for anyone who is not comfortable entering the building. The drive-in service option will be made available by transmitting the indoor service's audio feed on 88.1 FM. Both the indoor and the drive-in option will offer the Lord's Supper with the use of the pre-packaged Communion chalices. Current safety guidelines still apply. If you plan on attending any of our Sunday services, please reserve your spot by calling the office (516.742.5858) from 9:00 AM – NOON on the Thursday before the service you wish to attend. Please specify if you are attending the indoor service or the drive-in option. If you are attending the drive-in option, please park your car in the exit row (the row closest to Willis Avenue) and face the building. When the service concludes, you will leave the parking lot before the indoor attendees leave the building.


This Sunday, March 14, will be the last Sunday that a pre-recorded online service will be on YouTube. Beginning next Sunday, March 21, we will only offer a live feed of the indoor worship service as our weekly online option. I will let you know the specifics of that live feed as we get closer to Sunday, March 21. I am still playing around with some different options. I will, however, use Facebook Live to live stream our service for this weekend. Lenten Midweek services will remain online only on our YouTube channel at 7:00 PM on Wednesdays.


We also made a few changes to our Sunday worship services. Beginning this Sunday, March 14, we will be adding a hymn. We may add more later. We will also be asking lay readers to start reading again. Spacing between seats will remain the same, but we will be adding additional seating by the side altar and in the balcony. If needed, we can set up a few chairs in the narthex. We will continue to monitor distance recommendations. Due to the increased desire for worshiping indoors, I need to stress the importance of calling in to reserve a seat. We want to make sure that we can accommodate everyone. Please note that current safety guidelines still apply (masks, social distancing, etc.). 


Our Holy Week Schedule is as follows: 


Palm Sunday (3/28) 10:15 AM (inside, drive-in, & live feed)

Holy Thursday (4/1) 7:00 PM (inside, drive-in, & live feed)

Good Friday (4/2) 7:00 PM (inside, drive-in, & live feed)

Easter Sunday (4/4) 9:00 AM (outside); 10:15 AM (inside, drive-in, & live feed)


Palm Sunday will function like the Sunday worship services described above. We will be offering palms this year during the indoor service and drive-in option. If you do not plan on attending our Palm Sunday worship service but would still like a palm branch, we could arrange for a pick-up. Holy Thursday and Good Friday will have the same options as the Sunday worship services described above. The Lord's Supper will be celebrated on Holy Thursday, but not on Good Friday. We will have two opportunities to worship on Easter Sunday. Our 9:00 AM Easter service will take place outside on the back lawn, and our 10:15 AM Easter service will function like the Sunday worship services described above. If you plan on attending any of these Holy Week services, please reserve your spot by calling the office (516.742.5858) from 9:00 AM – NOON any Thursday before that week. Please specify which service(s) you plan to attend and whether you will be attending the indoor service or the drive-in option. I hope that our Easter services will safely and faithfully accommodate all levels of comfortability.


Thank you all for your continued love and support. It is an honor to serve this family of faith. May God bless the rest of our Lenten meditations and our Holy Week observations. I will send out more information in the coming weeks. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. 


Only Because of Jesus,


Pastor Jake Allstaedt

Office: 516.742.5858 | Cell: 253.720.6893 | Email: pastor@stjohns-wp.org

WORSHIP SCHEDULE FEBRUARY 14 - MARCH 7

My Dear Friends in Christ,


The Church Council met last night, and we have decided on a worship schedule for the next four Sundays. This Sunday, February 14, will be online only. The forecasts aren’t looking good. The following Sunday, February 21, we will host another drive-in worship service at 10:15am. I returned the previous FM transmitter I was using, and an anonymous donor purchased a better one that should provide a much better listening experience! We will also be celebrating the Lord’s Supper together during that service. Sunday, February 28, will be an indoor worship service at 10:15am with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Sunday, March 7, will be another drive-in worship service at 10:15am with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. If you plan on attending either of the drive-in services or the indoor service, please RSVP by calling the office (516.742.5858) from 9am-Noon on the Thursday before the service you wish to attend. I’m looking forward to seeing you all again!


Sunday Worship Schedule February 14—March 7

  • February 14 – Online Only
  • February 21 – Drive-in and Online
  • February 28 – Indoors and Online
  • March 7 – Drive-in and Online

The Church Council will meet again on Tuesday, March 9. I will have more information on our worship services going forward after that meeting. I thank you for your patience and understanding!


Our Midweek Lenten Series is “O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High,” written by Dr. Thomas Egger of Concordia Seminary. The series title comes from the hymn (LSB 544), and that hymn will be used throughout the series. In Dr. Egger’s words: “This Lenten sermon series sets out to trace the enormous dimensions God’s merciful love for sinners in Christ. The primary goal is that [we] may more fully comprehend and rejoice in ‘the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge’ (Ephesians 3:18-19). A second goal is that [we] would come to associate each of the many dimensions of God’s great love and mercy elaborated in this series with the suffering and death of Christ, enriching [our] Lenten meditation and [our] ongoing understanding of the cross. A third goal is that God’s enormous love for [us] would move [us] to live in love and mercy toward others.” I’m genuinely excited to go through this series with you! Our Midweek Lenten Services will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 17, at 7pm and will only be available on YouTube at this time.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I will continue to keep you informed. May God enrich us this Lenten Season with the “enormous dimensions” of God’s love for us.


Only Because of Jesus,


Pastor Jake Allstaedt

Office: 516.742.5858 | Cell: 253.720.6893 | Email: pastor@stjohns-wp.org

ONLINE WORSHIP FOR 1/31 AND ZOOM FELLOWSHIP HOUR

Next Sunday, January 31, we are all invited to worship with the saints at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx and Our Saviour Lutheran Church & School of the Bronx under the leadership of our good friend, Pastor Matthew Gonzalez. Their online worship service is available on their Facebook page and their YouTube channel. Worship will begin on those platforms at 11:00am.


Immediately following next week's online worship service, Deacon Charlie Turner will be hosting a church-wide online fellowship hour on Zoom at 11:30am. You will have to bring your own coffee and treats Grinning Face The Meeting ID was included in this week's congregational email. If you need the ID, please contact the office (office@stjohns-wp.org or 516.742.5858).

ONLINE WORSHIP ONLY

My Dear Friends in Christ,


We will be worshiping online only for the next three Sundays (January 24, 31, and February 7). Private, Outdoor Communion Services will also be on hold during this time. The Church Council will be meeting again on Tuesday, February 9, to re-assess where we are at and how to safely move forward. Thank you all for your understanding! May God uphold us in His grace and keep us safe.


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. 


Only Because of Jesus,


Pastor Jake Allstaedt

Office: 516.742.5858 | Cell: 253.720.6893 | Email: pastor@stjohns-wp.org

DRIVE-IN WORSHIP SERVICES

Current cases continue to rise, hospitals are getting closer to capacity, and a new highly contagious strain has been found. Due to these factors, some sister churches have decided to go remote or increase restrictions. In order to continue to love and serve one another, especially the most vulnerable among us, we will be holding drive-in services in the parking lot on Sunday mornings at 10:15am. Drive-in services will allow us to safely worship and celebrate the Lord's Supper together during the colder weather. We will also be able to sing in our cars! To attend, simply drive in to the parking lot, tune your radio to 91.9FM and wait for someone to hand you a bulletin and a pre-packaged Communion cup through a small opening in your car door window. Please still RSVP for these services by calling the office (516.742.5858) on Thursdays from 9am-Noon so we know how many to prepare for.


Here are the details and safety guidelines for the drive-in services:

• A mask or face covering will only be needed for the opened car window interactions (i.e. receiving bulletins, pre-packaged Communion cups, etc.).

• Please roll down your car window just enough to receive a bulletin and Communion cups for those in your vehicle.

• Pre-packaged Communion cups will be sealed in little sandwich baggies days before they are distributed.

• Please take your bulletin and Communion cups home with you. Before discarding your Communion cup, please rinse them out.

• At this time, we would ask that group conversations not take place outside of your vehicle.


May God continue to uphold us in His grace, keep us safe, and strengthen us through what we all hope is the final stretch of these difficult times. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! 


Only Because of Jesus,


Pastor Jake Allstaedt

Office: 516.742.5858 | Cell: 253.720.6893 | Email: pastor@stjohns-wp.org

CHRISTMAS AND ADVENT PLANS

The Advent Season has begun and Christmas is right around the corner! We have plans to safely celebrate a little differently this year, but please be aware that increased restrictions could cause us to change those plans. If and when that happens, I will certainly let you know. Here are the plans as they stand...


Our 2020 Midweek Advent Series is called "Singing Thru the Season." Each service will use a popular Christmas hymn as the basis for the message. This series will also be done in partnership with Pastor Matthew Gonzalez and Pastor Matthew Staneck. Singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is a vital part of our new life in Christ, and an essential element of the Christmas season. Sadly, singing has been restricted during the pandemic. Our hope is that, through these meditations, you will gain a better appreciation for the words of the hymns as you hear the Good News that Christ is for you. Yes, it is the Advent Season, but we could stand to sing some Christmas hymns a little early! These three midweek services will prepare us for Christmas Eve.


What's happening on Christmas Eve? We will host two "Lessons and Carols" services in the parking lot at our normal Christmas Eve service times, 5:00pm and 7:30pm. Currently, we are limited to 50 people for an outdoor gathering, so we will need you to please RSVP. You can RSVP by calling the office (516.742.5858) on Thursdays from 9:00am-Noon. Please let us know which service you will be attending and how many from your family are coming. Lawn chairs and masks will be needed! Don't worry about they hymns, we will provide those as a gift! An online version of this service will be available on Facebook and YouTube. 


What's happening on Christmas Day? We will have one Christmas Day service with limited seating indoors at 10:15am. It will be a shortened service with Holy Communion. Please RSVP if you would like to attend. Again, you can RSVP by calling the office (516.742.5858) on Thursdays from 9am-Noon. An online version of this service will be available on Facebook and YouTube.


On the longest night of the year, December 21, we will once again be hosting a "Blue Christmas" service at 7:00pm. "Blue Christmas" is a unique, reflective, and hopeful service for anyone who finds the Christmas season difficult for any reason. We have hosted this special service for the past couple years and we would like to host it again, even though there will be limited seating. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by calling the office (516.742.5858) on Thursdays from 9:00am-Noon. An online version of this service will be available on Facebook and YouTube.


May God bless us, keep us safe, and fix our eyes on Jesus during our preparations and celebrations this holiday season. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! 


Only Because of Jesus,


Pastor Jake Allstaedt

Office: 516.742.5858 | Cell: 253.720.6893 | Email: pastor@stjohns-wp.org

THE LORD'S SUPPER

We are now celebrating the Lord's Supper together during our in-person worship services. We will be using the pre-filled Communion cups that we have been using for our outdoor services. Each cup holds a piece of unleavened bread and a sip of wine. These elements will be consecrated during the service, allowing us to safely and effectively celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. Cups will be located on a table in the Narthex next to the offering plate. Please take one per Communion cup per communicant. I would also ask that you take your empty cup home and rinse it out before discarding it. Thank you.

Letter from the pastor 9/18/20

My Dear Friends in Christ,  


Let me begin this update by again expressing my gratitude for your patience, understanding, and support. Navigating this pandemic has been exhausting for everyone. We’ve all had to make adjustments. I don’t know how much longer we’ll have to endure, but I do know that God will continue to strengthen and feed our faith as we wait. He has been faithful to us in providing us with the riches of His Word. We have even been able to receive the Holy Communion. I am especially thankful for the gift of technology that allows us to meet together for Bible Study and worship. Virtual meetings leave much to be desired, but we have not been left in darkness without a light. The message of God’s grace for sinners—the Gospel—still shines bright, and I am confident it will continue to shine in our hearts and minds as we enter the Fall months.

As I said in my last update, the safety and spiritual well-being of St. John’s are top priorities for me and the Church Council. We’ve made some adjustments, doing what we can with what we have. Each season will have its own unique challenges and opportunities (i.e. weather changes and holidays), and I want to address some adjustments that we will be making for the next handful of weeks.


First, I am excited to announce that we will have a few opportunities to safely worship together outdoors on the back lawn of the church property (the area by the office entrance where I have been holding our private, outdoor Communion services). These outdoor worship services will replace the indoor worship services on those Sundays. Obviously, the weather will be an important factor. If conditions are too severe, I will notify the congregation, and we will simply cancel in-person worship that week and look forward to the next opportunity. Due to appropriate spacing and preparation, we won’t be able to move the service indoors. If the outdoor service is cancelled, we will still have the opportunity to worship together online through our online service on YouTube.


Mark your calendars! The dates and times for our outdoor worship services are:

  • Sunday, September 27 at 10:15am
  • Sunday, October 11 at 10:15am
  • Sunday, October 25 at 10:15am

We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper at these outdoor services with the use of pre-filled Communion cups that contain unleavened bread and a sip of wine. Many of our sister churches have utilized these pre-filled Communion cups to safely and effectively administer the Lord’s Supper in larger groups. It won’t look or feel like the particular elements you are used to receiving, but it is God’s Word of promise combined with the elements of unleavened bread and wine that make the Lord’s Supper what it is. As Luther writes in the Small Catechism, “These words [‘Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins’], along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: ‘forgiveness of sins.’” Even if the elements are presented in a slightly different way, God promises to forgive our sins. These pre-filled Communion cups will also give us the chance to do something we’ve never done before: receive the Lord’s Supper simultaneously! We will receive the Body and Blood at the same time. That’s exciting!


Here are the details and safety guidelines for these outdoor worship services:

  • A mask or face covering will be needed for the duration of the service. If you do not have a mask or happen to forget it, we will have one on hand. Please do not put anyone in an awkward position by showing up and refusing to wear one.
  • Congregants will need to bring their own lawn chairs. Lawn chairs must be set-up at a distance of 6 feet from other congregants. We may have to get creative to accommodate everyone if there is a large enough gathering.
  • The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated through pre-filled Communion cups that look like little chalices. Each cup holds a piece of unleavened bread and a sip of wine. These elements will be consecrated during the service, allowing us to safely and effectively celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. I would ask that you hold on to your empty receptacle and rinse it out at home before discarding it.
  • A table will be set up somewhere off to the side. It will have a large pump bottle of hand sanitizer, the pre-filled Communion cups, and an offering plate. After setting up your chair, please sanitize your hands, grab a pre-filled Communion cup, and place your offering in the offering plate. Keep a safe distance if you are waiting for others.
  • I will email the bulletin for the service as I have been doing every week. You may print your own at home and bring it or use the PDF on your phone/tablet. Otherwise, if you desire a bulletin to follow along, an usher with sanitized hands will hand them out by the table. Please take your bulletin home with you.
  • Please take only one pre-filled Communion cup per communicant. We are using them only for the purpose of celebrating the Lord’s Supper together in this particular worship setting under these unique circumstances. They are not to be used at home or shared with others. Please also do not take one if you have not yet been instructed on receiving the Lord’s Supper or are in any way uncomfortable. No one should feel forced to take Communion. You and I can certainly speak privately.
  • Upon dismissal, please exit in an orderly, distanced fashion.

I would ask you to please still RSVP for the outdoor worship service. Yes, there will be more room, but I would like to know approximately how many bulletins and pre-filled Communion cups to have prepared. When you RSVP, please let us know how many are going to be in your family/group, and how many are planning on receiving Holy Communion. To RSVP for an outdoor worship service, please call the office (516-742-5858) from 9:00am-Noon the Thursday before the service, just like you would for our indoor services.


The same precautions apply to outdoor worship as they do for indoor worship: if you have developed any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last two weeks (including cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell) or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please remain at home. Those who are at higher risk from COVID-19 (i.e. those who are older or who have underlying health conditions) must understand that, while outdoor worship will be safer, there are still risks involved. You may still want to stay at home, and that’s certainly OK given the circumstances. I will continue to offer a pre-recorded online worship service with hymns on YouTube at 10:15am on Sunday.


I will also continue to offer outdoor, private Communion services throughout the week. Those services use the contactless dispenser and individual cups. The appointment times will remain the same. You can find those times on our website, or you can contact me for more information.


Second, Diane Jellema and I are going to resume Sunday School. We will host it in-person in the Sanctuary at 9:30am on the Sundays that we are meeting outside for worship. So, our Sunday School will meet on September 27, October 11, and October 25. We will reevaluate and make adjustments to safely and effectively host Sunday School after those dates.


Third, Deacon Charlie Turner will also be resuming his weekly Sunday Morning Bible Study online this Sunday, September 20 at 9:30am using Zoom. If you are signed up for worship, you will have enough time to attend this Bible Study and get to worship. I will send out the Zoom Meeting ID in my Saturday email to the congregation.


Finally, a quick note on Bible Study and Wednesday Night Psalter. Bible Study will remain on Zoom in the Fall. The times have not changed. We continue to meet weekly at 11am on Tuesdays and at 7pm on Thursdays. Please join us! If you would like the Zoom meeting information, email me at pastor@stjohns-wp.org. Wednesday Night Psalter will continue to be offered at 7:00pm on Facebook Live. All are invited to take just a few minutes of your evening to rest in the appointed Psalm for the upcoming Sunday and join in singing an antiphon. I hope those devotions have been a blessing to you.


That’s the plan for now! Thank you again for your patience, understanding, and support. The light of Jesus Christ will continue to shine in these dark times through the Good News of the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the life to come. God will still deliver His grace to us weekly in the Absolution and through the hearing and receiving of His Word. It’s the same grace that is delivered to us in the Lord’s Supper. Our faith rests on the solid foundation of Christ crucified and risen for us sinners. Therefore, even when we have to make unwelcomed adjustments, we remain steadfast in hope and firm in our conviction. We can endure the changes because God is faithful. “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:11).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Only Because of Jesus,


Pastor Jake Allstaedt

Office: 516.742.5858 | Cell: 253.720.6893 | Email: pastor@stjohns-wp.org

LETTER FROM THE PASTOR 7/21/20

My Dear Friends in Christ,


Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for your patience, understanding, and support during this difficult time. Pastoring during a pandemic was not on my course list at the Seminary. For the last four months we have suspended all gatherings in the church building, but the time has come to begin a phased re-opening.


The safety and spiritual well-being of St. John’s are top priorities as we move forward. Many factors needed to be considered in the discussion to safely return to in-person worship, including, but not limited to, the make-up of our membership, the availability of supplies, the capacity for seating with appropriate distances, ventilation, how to safely and reverently serve and receive the Lord’s Supper, limiting time and exposure in an enclosed space, the need for excess cleaning, the need for reducing the amount of surfaces and items touched, and the fears, frustrations, and opinions of the congregation. They are constantly on my mind, and I can assure you that they have been discussed at length during our monthly Church Council meetings. Each congregation is different in needs, membership, resources, and readiness. We can only do what is right for us. The CDC and our Atlantic District taskforce have helped to guide our re-opening procedures to minimize risk of exposure. I am well aware that not everyone is going to be happy with these protocols. I am also aware that some will think it’s too early and some will think we’re late to the party. Again, each congregation is different. We are all in different stages. As you have done the last four months, I ask again for your continued patience, understanding, and support as we move forward into a “new normal.”


Having said all that, with the support and consensus of the Council, St. John’s will begin the first phase of re-opening with one Sunday morning in-person worship service a week and private, outdoor Communion services scheduled throughout the week. In-person worship will begin on Sunday, August 2nd at 10:15am. Communion Services will begin the week following that Sunday. I need to warn you upfront: the service will not look the same as it did before the pandemic. It may not “feel” like church, and that may be unsettling or frustrating to some. Our in-person worship will consist of a brief (~30 minute) Service of the Word without singing. In this beginning phase, Communion will be moved to scheduled private, outdoor services for families and individuals throughout the week. As much as it pains me to separate the celebration of the Lord’s Supper from the worship service, it is being done this way to distribute it in a more familiar, reverent way while minimizing risks.


Due to limited seating, you will need to RSVP for the in-person worship service. To reserve a seat for our first in-person worship service on August 2nd, please call the office (516.742.5858) on Thursday, July 30 from 9am-Noon. Reservations for the following weeks will continue to take place by calling the office on the preceding Thursday from 9am-Noon.


When you reserve a seat, we will need to know a couple things:

  1. How many in your group (if more than you) are attending?
  2. Do you need to use the elevator?

Seats will be assigned based on availability and proper distancing. We may run out of seats. Please mentally prepare for the fact that you will most likely not be sitting in your usual pew.


If you desire to receive the Lord’s Supper—we’ve missed it greatly—you will need to sign-up for a private, outdoor Communion Service. These services will be very brief (~10 minutes) and will take place under a canopy on the back lawn of the church building by the office entrance. Street parking is available on Winthrop Street. You may also park in the parsonage driveway. Please bring a lawn chair if standing for the duration of the service is too much. Please note that, if the weather is too severe, appointments will have to be rescheduled. Reserve a time by emailing me (pastor@stjohns-wp.org) or by calling or texting me (253.720.6893). When you reserve a time, I will need to know how many are attending. Individuals may also want to sign-up as a small group. The weekly time slots are:


Tuesdays: 9:00am, 9:20am, 9:40am, 10:00am, 10:20am, 10:40am, 5:00pm, 5:20pm, 5:40pm, 6:00pm, 6:20pm, 6:40pm


Wednesdays: 9:00am, 9:20am, 9:40am, 10:00am, 10:20am, 10:40am


Fridays: 9:00am, 9:20am, 9:40am, 10:00am, 10:20am, 10:40am, 7:00pm, 7:20pm, 7:40pm, 8:00pm, 8:20pm, 8:40pm


If you have developed any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last two weeks (including cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell) or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please refrain from in-person worship and Communion. Those who are at higher risk from COVID-19 (i.e. those who are older or who have underlying health conditions) are also encouraged to remain at home.


Safety measures for the in-person worship service:

  • A mask or face covering will be needed for the duration of the service. If you do not have a mask or happen to forget it, we will have one on hand. Please do not put anyone in an awkward position by showing up and refusing to wear one.
  • A distance of at least 6 feet must be kept while walking up to the building and while waiting to enter (if there is a line to get in).
  • The door will be propped open for easy, contact-less entry.
  • Congregants will be instructed upon entry to sanitize their hands. We will provide a large pump bottle of hand sanitizer for this purpose.
  • Seating assignments will be given and you will be instructed where to sit. Only one individual, couple, or family will be seated at a time.
  • In order to maintain safe distances, only a select number of pews are available.
  • Windows will remain open for the duration of the service.
  • Bottles of hand sanitizer are available in the pews.
  • Offerings can be dropped off in a designated spot in the Narthex.
  • The liturgy will be projected onto the screen in the Sanctuary.
  • Singing will not take place in this initial phase. Pre-service and post-service music will be played.
  • Upon dismissal, congregants will exit in an orderly, distanced fashion. I will not be able to make myself available for greetings before or after the service, but please know that I’m available by phone or email.
  • Group chats will not take place inside the building before or after the service.

Safety measures for the private, outdoor Communion services:

  • A mask or face coverings will be needed for the duration of the service.
  • Services are brief (~10 minutes) and are scheduled in 20 minute time slots. If you arrive while another appointment is finishing, please wait patiently.
  • Congregants will be instructed to sanitize their hands before the reception of the Lord’s Supper. A large pump bottle of hand sanitizer will be provided.
  • A safe distance will be kept for the duration of the service, except for the momentary distribution of the Lord’s Supper.
  • The Bread/Body will be distributed using a no-contact dispenser. The Wine/Blood will be distributed using individual cups.
  • The area will be disinfected before the next appointment.

I will continue to offer a pre-recorded online worship service with hymns on YouTube at 10:15am. In addition, beginning Sunday, August 2nd, I will offer a livestream of the in-person worship service on Facebook Live. Those worshipping at home will get to choose between the two services.


Bible Study will remain on Zoom during this opening phase. We will continue to meet weekly at 11am on Tuesdays and at 7pm on Thursdays. Please join us! If you would like the Zoom meeting information, email me at pastor@stjohns-wp.org. At this time, no other meetings or outside groups will be meeting in the building. I also will continue to offer Wednesday Night Psalter at 7:00pm on Facebook Live. All are invited to take a few minutes during the week to rest in God’s Word with me and my family (and Washy).


Please keep in mind that this is the first phase of the reopening process. We are safely “getting our feet wet,” adhering to CDC and Atlantic District guidelines while being mindful of our own unique needs. We are staying up to speed on the latest information. In fact, I have regular meetings with fellow pastors and our Bishop. We will reevaluate and adjust as needed. For now, this is the plan. I thank you again for your patience, understanding, and support. God continues to deliver His grace to us through His Word. I want to reassure you that the grace that is delivered to us in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is the same grace that was delivered to us in our Baptism. It is delivered to us weekly in the Absolution, and it is delivered to us by the preaching and hearing of God’s Word. No matter what, God will not stop strengthening us in the one true faith until life everlasting. Believe it! As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Only Because of Jesus,


Pastor Jake Allstaedt

Office: 516.742.5858 | Cell: 253.720.6893 | Email: pastor@stjohns-wp.org